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Genesis Energy’s ‘take it or leave it’ policy

For immediate release: 8 June 05

Genesis Energy’s ‘take it or leave it’ policy hurts those on fixed income – Grey Power

Following hard on the heels of the massive price rise for low-income users of pre-pay metres, the country’s self-proclaimed largest supplier of electricity announced a further price rise for everyone else. Genesis Energy, a state-owned corporation, is also one of the country’s largest producers of electricity

Genesis Power explained in a series of announcements that prices for electricity are going up because costs associated with supply are having a knock-on effect. The move has infuriated large numbers of people on fixed income.

“It seems like a case of taking with the right hand, and taking more with the left hand as well,” says Grey Power Federation President Graham Stairmand.

“What is worse,” Mr Stairmand says, “There is no provision for protest that consumers can make. The Minister of Energy and the Electricity Commissioner have both steadfastly refused to sanction or promote a Customer Advocacy Group within the Electricty Commission that could provide some sort of control on the unsubstantiated price rises that are typical of this industry and which severely penalise those on fixed incomes.

“Some time ago, Meridian Energy announced a price rise of 15% to finance its ill-famed Project Aqua, but while this project has been abandoned, the price rise has not been removed. Meridian also recently invested $200 million paid by Kiwi consumers for a proposed wind farm in South Australia. Great for Australia!

“This continual escalation of electricity prices continues unabated with the blessing of the government who seems treat this industry as a cash cow regardless of the hardships on older New Zealanders living on fixed incomes.

“This total lack of control is made worse because there is no breakdown of cost in the final billing received by the consumer. No information, no choice, not even a sympathetic official ear. The consumer is trapped in a ‘take it or leave it’ position, and often is not even able to ‘leave it,’” says Graham Stairmand, suggesting that no one voluntarily chooses to freeze to death, although a number of older people involuntarily do so.

“It’s time the electricity industry was closely regulated,” he says.


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